NEW YORK (AP) -- The first thing to know about Tony Robbins' new NBC series is that, in his opinion, it isn't a series.
Instead, he sees "Breakthrough With Tony Robbins" as six weekly specials (the second airing Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT). After that he's done, at least for the foreseeable future.
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"I couldn't possibly, with the schedule I have, go do a series," says the high-rev inspirational speaker who fills arenas around the world and sells books and tapes by the millions.
Now his TV series, er, specials, are just another part of his outreach -- short-term but, he hopes, with lasting impact.
"I did what I wanted to accomplish," says Robbins, an imposing 6-foot-7, as he stretches his legs seemingly into the next county from the chair in which he's seated for a recent interview. "I told some really interesting stories of how people can turn themselves around in situations that seemed impossible." And can do it, in each case, in just 30 days.
On last week's premiere of "Breakthrough," Robbins helped spark Frank and Kristen, whose joyous wedding reception a few years ago had ended with the grimmest of tragedies: Frank leaped into the swimming pool and broke his neck, which left him paralyzed.
A plunge into skydiving by each partner, then Frank's initiation into murderball (a sort of wheelchair rugby), helped turned them both around. They were obliged to recognize new options for their lives. Robbins calls it "rewriting their story."
On this week's show, a less dramatic but all-too-relatable crisis afflicts Ron and Marie, a middle-class couple with three kids who are facing joblessness, near-bankruptcy and a marriage fracturing under the stress.
One of Robbins' techniques: Deposit the couple on skid row and let them rub elbows with people whose plight is even worse than their own.
After that, with Tony's help, Ron lands a job where every day he's tested by a boss from hell. Can he hang on, prove himself and score a lucrative promotion?
Robbins says the time is right for "Breakthrough." With the torrent of bad news these days, "people feel out of control. There's a stacking effect. It's the first time in American history where people believe that their quality of life and the quality of life of their kids is going to be worse in the future than it was in the past."
His response? "Grab a prime-time audience, shake 'em up and say, 'Consider the fact that life is unjust and unfair. Consider the fact that we're all going to experience extreme stress. The question is: What are you gonna do with it?"'
Spoiler alert: All the people Robbins meets on "Breakthrough" go for his "are-you-in-or-out?" challenge and emerge changed for the better.
Those changes may seem magical, even unsustainable, to the viewers tuned in. Robbins acknowledges that some of the tough transition gets lost when boiling down 30 days of footage to an hour for broadcast.
To help fill in the gaps, the "Breakthrough" website includes a follow-up video by Robbins and other supplementary clips.
Meanwhile, he makes no secret of the fact that each change is only a beginning.
"When you make a change, what does that create? A new problem," he says. "I try to help people find a better quality of problem."